Kenya’s political crisis touches off Twitter firestorm

In a social media supremacy game determined by the number of tweets, retweets, likes and followers, lawyers on either side of the political divide have been coming out fingers first, seeking to tweet the deathblow that silences the other forever.

While many Kenyans may not have access to courtroom shenanigans argued out in complex legalese, they have been increasingly treated to legal opinions distilled into 140 or 280 character tweets, seasoned with a fair bit of snark and not a little schadenfreude.

AHMEDNASIR

The perpetual fighters are pro-Jubilee lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi and National Super Alliance supporter Donald Kipkorir, who hold no punches and are as fast with their thinly veiled insults at each other as they are with political and legal commentary.

There is clearly no love lost between the two.

Their tweets have grown more acrimonious to reflect the current toxic political climate in Kenya, where divisions between government and opposition supporters have split the country down the middle, leaving a bewildered judiciary in the middle scrambling for context in which to place the current unprecedented political upheavals.

“When Baba says your girlfriend is pregnant, she is; when he says you go, for sure, you will … So, Dear Chiloba, save us time for 17.10.17,” tweeted Kipkorir early this month, echoing the oft-repeated condition by Nasa leader Raila Odinga that IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba must be fired if the October 26 election are to be carried out.

RAILA PETITION

To this, Abdullahi retorted: “The embarrassing ballyhoo lately unleashed by my good friend @DonaldBKipkorir in describing the mythical power of Baba would have made a medieval courtier proud”

And then there was the entertaining exchange where Kipkorir accused Abdullahi of making “zero contributions to Jurisprudence in Kenya” after Abdullahi said that Kipkorir was punching above his weight with his tweets about the Supreme Court, telling him “that type of case you will handle in your next life”.

But the two learned gentlemen insist that they are still friends and that their differences are merely “ideological”.

HATE SPEECH

Indeed, they have successfully avoided the tribal narrative that so often colours Kenyan political opinion, instead focusing on political punching lines, not personal ones, to deliver their blows.

This has seen them avoid going the way of repeat hate speech mongers such as Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama, who are in court fighting allegations of hate speech.

The Kuria-Muthama brand of political rivalry is peppered with derogatory personal attacks and often leans towards incitement to violence.

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